Chef Charlie McKenna of the hugely popular barbecue joint Lillie’s Q chose to settle his newest project in Bucktown, an area that has turned from industrial heartland to artists’ enclave and, more recently, gentrified foodie destination. 

Named Dixie, his newest restaurant and bar aims to revive traditional southern cooking, putting a refined spin on ingredients inherent to South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia, supplied by purveyors from those regions. 

Behind the petite whitewashed facade, the interiors have been given more than a lick of paint by BlocHaus, who furnished the two-floor, 64 cover space with midcentury style fauteuil chairs and deep purple banquets around marble tables, French-inspired golden latticework, an open kitchen showing off staff with indigo-hued aprons, exposed attic ceiling and a wonderful wall of hand-painted gold oyster shells – a nod to the southern tradition of burying shells in the back garden for luck.  

The bar, 1952 ½, will be helmed by local cocktail master Dylan Melvin, whose focus on bourbon and juleps is razor sharp.